Songbun, Art, and the Chosun Children's Union



This past Thanksgiving we ran a post about Ilkuk (Evan) Kim, son of Kim Kwang-jin, who most of you probably know personally or by reputation.  Ilkuk is an artist, and has done a number of paintings about his life and memories of North Korea, and wrote an essay trying to articulate why he painted the particular scenes that he did.

His work and the accompanying essay will be on display 6 June at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in conjunction with the public release by the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea of the report "Marked for Life: Songbun, North Korea's Social Classification System," by Robert Collins.  According to HRNK, "the North Korean government assigns a "songbun" status to every citizen at birth based on the perceived political loyalty of his or her family going back generations. While a small, politically loyal class in North Korea is entitled to extensive privileges, the vast majority of citizens are relegated to a permanent lower status and then discriminated against for reasons they cannot control or change."

For those interested in attending, the event will be from 2-3:30pm at AEI, Twelfth Floor, 1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036, two blocks from the Farragut North Metro station.

To call the timing ironic would be an understatement of monumental proportions. The same day that Ilkuk's artwork is on display, half-way around the world, 20,000 representatives of the Chosun Children's Union have been invited to Pyongyang by Kim Jong-un to celebrate the group's 66th anniversary and add its blessing to the third generation succession.

See you Wednesday.

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